Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 31 - Re-create

For day 31 the challenge says "re-create your favorite challenge", which I interpreted to mean pick one of the day themes to re-do. I decided to have another go at dotting since my mani for polka dot day was kind of failtastic. I also wanted to do another holo base with creme art like I did for delicate print day, so...

These dots turned out *so* much better! I used a toothpick to make smaller dots, and started in the center of my nail then spiraled out from that. The spiral doesn't show, the dots look semi-random or circular, but I really like how it turned out. 

The base is Color Club - Magic Attraction, which is a lot like Beyond The Mistletoe (which I used as a base for delicate print) except pink-brown toned instead of blue-green. Again, super blingy holo overwhelms the other glitters!

For the dots I went with an ombre color scheme using Wet & Wild polishes.
Pinky: Sunny Side Up
Ring: Blazed
Middle: Lavender Creme (which is not particularly lavender, IMO should be called Pink Creme)
Index: Red Red 
Thumb: FuchsiaRama

Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 30 - Inspired by a Tutorial

I absolutely loved the acid-wash tutorial at The Laquerologist, so I picked it for my tutorial challenge day! I didn't follow it exactly, but I never would have thought of this on my own for sure! 

Blinding neon scares cameras, and gives me corpse hands in pics but makes me look tan IRL!

Today I pulled out a set of polishes I picked up cheap at Ross, Haute Nails neons. None of the colors have names that I've been able to find, and when I first tried one of these I had trouble with it dragging and balding and streaking, because they dry SO FAST. I ended up being glad I gave them a second chance this summer though, once I figured out that I had to slow them down by painting thick and start at the edge instead of down the center of my nail, they worked alright. Still a tad streaky, but two careful coats evens things out pretty well, and they make nice glitter undies.

The set has five polishes, all of which I used for my acid wash nails. The green is the weird one, with tiny iridescent glitter and a blue shimmer, it just comes out looking like neon frog skin on its own (but again, glitter undies! I have a fairly densely packed blue glitter franken that goes amazingly well with it). The blue is a pretty standard blue-leaning teal shimmer, there are a lot of similar polishes out there, and this one's formula does leave something to be desired. The purple and red are both basic neon cremes, and the pink has a pretty silver shimmer (yep, the pink's my favorite here. It goes with my swimsuit and *really* makes me look tan!). All except the blue dry matte, and fast.

Aside from the super quick dry time, these polishes don't have much to recommend them. But since this technique requires so many layers, you'd definitely want to use really fast drying polishes, and these are the fastest ones I have. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 29 - Inspired by the Supernatural

I thought of all the obvious halloween themes. Ghosts, witches... then I thought of mythical creatures like unicorns or fairies... and then I thought of tarot cards, which led me to this skittles mani, inspired by  the five elements of the old Chinese system (except I screwed it up and used Air as an element, despite it not being in the Chinese system... should be Earth instead, I was dumb and didn't check ahead of time).

Metal, Fire, Water, Air, Wood

On my thumb (Metal) I used Wet & Wild Bad For Credit Cards, with the bullseye from the new China Glaze magnet. 
On my index finger (Fire) I started with two coats of Nina Ultra Pro Molten Gold, added a dabbled layer of the orangey copper glitter from the Bonita glitter set, and finished with a third coat of Molten Gold.
My middle finger (Water) is Claire's blue magnetic polish with the magnet it came with.
My ring finger, representing Air, is Wet & Wild Chrome Stay Outta My Bismuth topped with an iridescent glitter polish from Simple Pleasures that was gloppy and obnoxious to work with (have I mentioned yet how unimpressed I am with that set?)
My pinky represents Wood/Earth and is done with Claire's green magnetic and the magnet it came with.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 28 - Inspired by a Flag

Originally I was going to be boring and do a country flag, I'd even narrowed it down to two and bought a new polish just for the purpose. Then I decided I like the colors of the asexual pride flag better.

So I guess this is sort of a coming-out post? For the blog that is, it's no huge secret.

I started with a base of Sinful Colors Fig, then freehanded the tips (as you can clearly tell by how wonky they turned out :/ ) with L.A. Colors stripers in white, silver and black.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 27 - Inspired by Artwork

I had a very good idea where I wanted to look for inspiration today! My high school art teacher, Clay Custer, does some gorgeous things with acrylics. His style is so unique and I love it! 
(link warning: in the painting gallery there's one, not highly detailed but realistic, female nude. Be advised if you're at work or have delicate sensibilities! The specific pages I've linked to in this post are safe, but if you're gonna go clicking around know it's there :) ) I just hope he wouldn't be disappointed in me for taking all I learned in his classes and just doing silly things like nail polish. :/

Here's the painting I picked to be inspired by (it was so hard to pick a favorite, but in the end I had to choose something I could reasonably approximate in nail polish...)

The polishes used --
Base: Sinful Colors Savage with random striper-brush strokes of Sinful Colors Rise And Shine (I was trying for that awesome scuffy look that the painting has between the blue and green... didn't work very well unfortunately)
Leaves/flowers: Wet & Wild Deadly Dose, Sinful Colors Ruby Ruby, Sinful Colors Happy Ending
Butterfly: Sinful Colors Rich In Heart.

I mattified the whole thing with NYC Matte Me Crazy, then tried to re-shiny the butterfly.. but it just looked weird. :/

Monday, September 24, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 26 - Inspired by a Pattern

I took my inspiration today from fishnet stockings and Sincerely Stephanie's manicure for polka-dot day. Turned into one of my favorite mani's from the whole challenge (after the galaxy nails, nothing will EVER trump those for awesome!)

I started with Revlon Top Speed - Spice It Up as the base, then grabbed my dotting tool and went to town with Sinful Colors polishes -- Heavy Metal for the larger dots, Zincing Of You for the smaller dots, and Precious Metal for the centers of the larger dots.

For as easy as this was to do, it turned out gorgeous! Don't you think it almost looks like polish strips? :D

Friday, September 21, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 25 - Inspired by Fashion

These "inspired by" challenge days just keep being tricky for me! I don't keep up with fashion enough to have had an idea in my head, and google wasn't pulling up anything appealing. Then a friend suggested I go for a retro kind of something, like a poodle skirt. And that was it. 

I really do not draw poodles very well. Or anything that's supposed to be vaguely realistic, for that matter.

I used BB Paris - Cupcake for the base, and drew on the french tip and the poodle with a fine point sharpie that happened to be right next to my nail-painting station in a fit of laziness and not wanting to get up to go get a black striper. The sharpie smeared a bit when I added topcoat, but... honestly, for my lack of actual artistic skills, I think this turned out reasonably well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 24 - Inspired by a Book

This theme gave me LOTS OF HEADACHES. I mostly read educational books anymore, which aren't often all that inspiring as far as nail art goes. And I didn't want to do something that everyone and their cousin has already done an interpretation of (like Katniss' flame nails from Hunger Games). Then I got new polishes and finally, finally inspiration struck! This design is inspired by the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz.

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable

I used all Sinful Colors polishes this time. The base color is Out Of This World, over which I sponged some random patches of Super Nova to look like cleaned-up rust spots, but it didn't really show. The seams and rivets are done with a striper brush, dotting tool, and Hot Wired, and the heart is Soul Mate and Super Nova, freehanded with a striper brush.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 23 - Inspired by a Movie

This took much longer to pick inspiration for than song day! I'm not super into movies, and I was having a really hard time coming up with ideas for any of the ones I do really like, that haven't already been done (like this, for instance, which is amazing and fabulous but I really didn't want to just copy something I've already seen).

Finally I settled on a blood splatter accent inspired by Repo! The Genetic Opera and/or Sweeney Todd, two fantastic and bloody musicals (and yes, Repo Men totally ripped off the idea behind TGO and I will forever be annoyed with them for it).

I know, I know, Halloween's not til next month... 

My stash of gray polishes is severely limited, I used the only two I have in this mani... Sinful Colors - Secret Admirer for the main color, and Sinful Colors - Slate for the accent nail base. The 'blood' is actually Finger Paints - Signed In Wine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 22 - Inspired by a Song

For my song inspiration I picked She Dreams In Blue by the amazing and talented Josh Woodward, one of my favorite musicians of all time! You can have a listen to She Dreams In Blue here, and while you're at it I strongly recommend checking out his other tunes. They're all free, so don't be afraid to download a few if the desire strikes you (and trust me, there's something for everyone!). 

Ok, now that I'm done plugging one of my favorite people ever, have a look at my pretty fingers! 

This one took many, many attempts before I was finally happy with it. Originally I planned a watercolor mani, but the one pale blue I had for the base didn't want to cooperate. It's from that crummy Simple Pleasures set, and besides being super sheer and requiring lots of babying to avoid major streaks I could *not* get it to dry. So I scrapped that and dug around in my blues a little more hoping for a new inspiration.. which appeared in the form of Essie - Stroke of Brilliance, from the Luxeffects collection. Such pretty periwinkle-blue glitter!

I decided to jelly sandwich it with that sheer Simple Pleasures mess on top, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I could get only one coat of the stuff to dry. For undies I picked BB Paris - Curacao, which is a little darker with a pretty silver shimmer (I probably could have used that as a base for my original watercolor idea, but by the time I found and remembered I had it, I was hooked on the jelly-sandwich-with-Essie thing).

So that's the complicated story of these not-so-complicated nails. 

Unfortunately even with only one coat, the sheer blue wouldn't dry right and I had to take these off when I dinged them up making lunch shortly after taking pics. :(

And that, kids, is why impulse buying super cheap polishes can be a Really Bad Idea. The Simple Pleasures set, with its horrid streaky-sheer formulas, is a near-total waste of money and space in my polish drawer. My hoarder inclinations and the fact that yes, I did spend money on them are the only things keeping me from throwing them away just yet. I'll probably dump the polishes and franken in the bottles at some point.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 21 - Inspired by a Color

I pondered this one long and hard before deciding to go with what I'd seen other ladies do for this challenge day, and take inspiration from a polish name. The featured polish here is Orly - Mermaid Tale from the Glam FX collection.

So of course I had to try a fishtail braid mani. 
I used Finger Paints - Tiffany Imposter, China Glaze - Exotic Encounters, and Color Club - Twiggie for the braid, and topped it off with a coat of Mermaid Tale.

I think this was better before the glitter, TBH. It kinda overwhelmed the braid. Still a fun mani though! And I absolutely love the green holo glitter in Mermaid Tale. You can see it looking orange on my pinky and a bit of blue on my ring finger, that's the holo showing!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Diagonal Duochromes

Taking a break from the 31 Day Challenge for Chalkboard Nails' Cool or Warm nail art contest
The rules are pretty simple, pick cool or warm colors and create a manicure. I picked cool, as it gave me a perfect chance to try out something I've had lurking in the back of my head for nearly a month.

I thought, how cool would a glitter crackle over a duochrome be? After testing it out I decided it wasn't quite as fabulous as I'd envisioned, though still pretty neat looking, so I used it as an accent instead of the full mani.

I started with a base of China Glaze - Unpredictable, then taped off diagonals and added China Glaze - Deviantly Daring. I painted a thinnish coat of Nicole by OPI - Amethyst Texture on my ring and thumb nails, then finished off the look by placing glitter pieces from the purple glitter in the Claire's Precious Metals set along the diagonal with a toothpick. Topcoat and done!

After finishing this, I had an idea for a warm-toned mani also using crackle accents. I might have to go ahead and do it as a bonus for all the lovely people who read my silly little blog! :)

31 Day Challenge Day 20 - Water Marbled

Water marbling, water marbling... I tried it once before, with moderately FAIL results. This one turned out a little better, but I still haven't got the hang of it.

I used Steel The Spotlight from the Wet & Wild Chrome collection as the base (who says all water marbles have to start with a white base, anyway?)
For the marble I used Wet & Wild Megalast I Red A Good Book and two jelly frankens I whipped up after noticing that my collection was seriously lacking in jellies, a black and a teal. The teal didn't really show after marbling except on my thumb and a teeny bit on my index finger, everywhere else it just looks clear. 

It's hard for me to pick a favorite nail here. Index? Middle? Pinky? One of those three, my thumb and middle finger didn't really go so marble-y. Which is your favorite?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

31 Day Challenge Day 19 - Galaxies

So far this has been the most in-depth challenge day I've done! Water marbling is next though, and that absolutely kicked my butt the first time I tried it, so there will probably be a headache in my not-so-distant future. I've always loved other girls' galaxy nails, so I was excited to try it out myself.

Don't mind me, I'm just spacing out

I started with Essie Dive Bar as my base, then added faraway stars with a green/gold/orange iridescent microglitter Diamond Cosmetics striper, making sure to vary the concentration of glitter randomly all over my nails. The green in that glitter was more prominent over Dive Bar than I expected, so I added a little bit of a pale-gold microglitter from Bonita (yeah, another nameless, cheap set from Ross) in the same patchy way. As it turns out though, you really can't see much of those at all, they're mostly lost in the nebulas.

Then I went rummaging through my stash for the perfect polishes to use for the nebulas, and was hit with inspiration when I came to one from the Claire's Starstruck collection. How appropriate, right? And the glassflecks looked so invitingly glowy, how could I NOT want that all over my nails?

The Starstruck collection is 6 bright and juicy glassfleck polishes, most of which are dupes for the Color Club Take Wing collection: Little Dipper (orange), Flying Saucer (pink), Cosmic (purple), Moon Dust (blue), Drops of Jupiter (teal), and Blast Off (green). I used all of them randomly for these nails.

The white I used for the close-up stars is a Kiss striper, dotted with a toothpick.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August's haul

I tried to be good in August. I really, really tried. My goal originally was to not buy any polish that wasn't last-chance clearance or some absolutely amazing LE. ...yeah, I didn't exactly make that goal... broke it by the end of the first week. But I *tried*.

- Gold Coast (LE, sheer shimmery deliciousness)
- Not So Blueberry (duochrome and scented!)

- silver magnetic
(I love magnetic polishes. And I love duochrome polishes. They combined two of my favorite things and I have no ability to resist that!)

- Dive Bar
(for the duochrome, surprise...)

- 3 piece set of nail care: rebuilding protein, cuticle oil, and a fast dry topcoat ($5 at TJ Maxx!)

Rue 21:
- neon pink/blue/violet layered
- pastel purple/pink/teal layered
(I've always wondered about how those multi-color layered or swirled polishes would look in use. Rue had some appealing color combinations on a two-fer sale so I picked up these to try)

Wet & Wild:
- Bad For Credit Cards (I think it's LE... gorgeous dirty-silver magnetic)

Overall I don't think I did too badly. The most expensive of all these was the Essie at $8, but it's SO gorgeous I feel 100% justified in owning it. Everything else was $6 or less, mostly less. In all I only spent about $30 on nail stuff, and that is a HUGE improvement over the days not so long ago when I'd spend $50 on polish alone in a single shopping trip. I feel pretty good about this.